The Navy lost too many lives to accidents in recent years. Congress has the power to do something about it and can help prevent accidents like those that happened on USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain by funding the fleet properly. It is stress and over-commitment that has led the Navy to this point. To meet the demand for ships, the Navy has been forced to extend deployments, increase operational tempo, and shorten, eliminate, or delay training and maintenance, harming readiness and disrupting the rest sailors need to serve at their best.
Missions have expanded, but Navy manning has shrunk by 20%. Deployments today are all longer than six months, though just 17 years ago, only 4% of deployments lasted that long. The Pacific fleet is even more stressed: the operational tempo has remained the same even though the total number of ships operating in the Western Pacific has shrunk. To further exacerbate the situation, according to a report by GAO, forward deployed naval forces-those based in ports overseas--have even longer deployments with less training and less predictable schedules despite regularly operating in complex environments. The percentage of the fleet homeported overseas has doubled in the last decade. Congressional testimony revealed that sailors are working 100-hour weeks. This is unsustainable.
Simply put, the fleet is stretched too thin. There has been millions of dollars of damage, and the loss of at least seven sailors. It is time for Congress to take action by growing the fleet, spending more on training, and funding the Navy at a level that matches its mission.
Why you should act
The Navy is reluctant to say no to the nation because of their determination to serve the country. The Navy League needs your voice to convince Congress to match resources to the mission the Navy has been asked to fulfill.